Divisions among the followers of earlier messengers and the great doubts engulfing their subsequent generations meant that mankind was in desperate need of someone who was certain of the way to God to take it by the hand and show it the right way. This was the task assigned to the last Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him), sent to all mankind. God commanded him to deliver His message, holding firm to it, paying no heed to the conflicting creeds around him. He was to announce the rebirth of the divine faith embodied in the one message that God gave to all prophets: âTherefore, call people to that faith, and follow the straight path as you have been commanded.â
This is a new leadership for all mankind; a strong leadership, sure of its way and firm in its beliefs. It advocates its message equipped with true insight, and follows Godâs orders without deviation, steering away from all conflicting forces. This new leadership of mankind declares that the divine message is one and the way to which it guides people is the same. Thus, all divine faith comes from one source and mankind must turn to that source only: âSay: âI believe in whatever revelation God has bestowed from on high.â Its constitution and policy is based on truth and justice: âI am commanded to ensure justice between you.â This new leadership has definite authority enabling it to declare justice among all mankind even at the time when it was confined to the narrow valleys of Makkah, where its followers suffered unrelenting persecution. Yet its authority was clear to all. It clearly announces that: 1) the Lord of the universe is the One Lord: âGod is our Lord and your Lord.â
2) everyone is responsible for their own actions: âTo us shall be accounted our deeds, and to you, your deeds.â 3) All argument is ended as Godâs final word is given: âLet there be no argument between us and you.â And 4) all affairs are left to God for His final judgment: âGod will bring us all together, and to Him we shall all return.â
This single verse with short, clear and decisive statements describes the nature of this last message in all its clarity. It is a message that means to follow its own way, unaffected by peopleâs desires. It aims to extend its authority so as to ensure justice between all people. Its objective is to show the one way leading to God since it is the only way defined by all messages.
As the issues have thus been clarified and the community of believers have assuredly responded to Godâs message, the argument of those still disputing about God appears to be both singular and trivial, lacking basis and weight. A final word is stated about them making clear that they will have to face the punishment they have been warned against: âAs for those who argue about God after He has been acknowledged, their argument is null and void in their Lordâs sight: anger will fall upon them and severe suffering awaits them.â Whoever posits an argument that is null and void in Godâs sight has nothing to offer. Not only are his arguments proven false in this life, but in the life to come he will incur Godâs anger and face severe punishment for persisting with such falsehood.
Yet another round is started to drive the central theme of the surah home to us: âIt is God who has bestowed revelation from on high, setting forth the truth, and established the balance. For all you know, the Last Hour may well be near.â
It is God who revealed His book to set forth the truth, and it is He who ordained justice, making His book the criterion to judge in all disputes among the followers of earlier religions, as also in all disputes that arise between people. He based all His laws on true and accurate justice, which is comparable to a balance that weighs values, rights and actions. The same verse also mentions the Last Hour, which is a frequent Qurâanic reference to the Day of Judgment. Its mention is appropriate because it is the time set for the final judgment based on absolute justice. The Last Hour belongs to the realm that is beyond the reach of human perception. Hence, no one can be sure of when it is due: âFor all you know, the Last Hour may well be near.â People prefer to ignore it when it is close to them. It will inevitably bring them to the fair reckoning which takes every little detail into account, overlooking nothing. ¬